Wow. Okay, so a can of worms I never meant to open. I’ll try to briefly clarify my feelings about AWANA, except that I don’t really have them all sorted out yet. Please know that I absolutely never intended to offend anyone–not for one single second!
First of all, it’s not just AWANA (do y’all mind if i don’t capitalize it every time?) that’s in question. It’s awana PLUS all the other stuff. I was talking to a friend at Bible study today, and we were discussing how much to volunteer at church. Right now, I’m facilitating a Bible study group on Thursdays, teaching cubbies on Wed. night (that’s the plan right now) and I’m a parent helper in Children’s church roughly once every 2 months. But I’ve also been asked to do a lot of one-time things like the sexuality seminar, marriage foundations panel, fully engaged class. I’m just afraid of saying “yes” to too many things.
And what about hospitality and witnessing and soccer and volunteering at school and writing and speaking..?
Back to awana. I enjoyed it last year, for the most part. I love the kids. It was great to get to know them and their parents. As a mom, it wasn’t as much fun. It was like pulling teeth trying to get my girls to memorize their verses. And the tough part was getting my family fed and out the door in time. Traffic is horrendous where I live, and it can take 30-40 minutes to get to church on a bad night. Awana lasts until 8:00, then I stay until all the parents arrive, drive home with cranky and/or hyper kids, no time for bath, in bed late, and everyone’s whiny and exhausted. Then we’re all up early to leave for Bible study from the bus stop the next morning. (Back to the balance thing.)
Let me just say that all awanas are NOT the same. It really depends on your church and the leaders and how many kids you have and all that. Our church is big, so there are tons of kids. Smaller might be more ideal. More one-on-one interaction with kids. Without criticizing anyone, I felt there was a lot lacking in our Cubbies program last year. Lots of filler stuff, not a lot of depth.
I love the fact that the kids memorize Scripture, but unfortunately, my girls don’t remember much of what they learned. They have to go through it so fast, and Livi especially felt the pressure to stay up with everyone else. Part of that failure to retain is my fault. I didn’t work with them nearly enough. And I didn’t try hard enough to make it fun.
I haven’t answered a single question, have I?
Here’s the bottom line: Like many of you mentioned, I need to spend some serious time in prayer and ask God what’s right for OUR FAMILY. We want to be in His will for US. If we do awana, it’s because He wants us to. If we don’t, it’s because He closes the door.
My comment about awana was really secondary to the primary issue in my life at the moment. What does God want life in the Gabe Taviano household to look like at this point in time?
I’ll let Mark Buchanan (The Rest of God) explain what I mean:
Sit with Jesus until you hear from him what he would have you do–sit some more, visit the aging, teach Sunday School, or clean your desk. Or, maybe, cook the lunch. And then put your hand to the task, Martha-like, and do it with all your heart, Mary-like.
In that, you’ll find your joy.
I want to find my joy. And I want it to be in HIM. Love you guys!